Tarte provençale

What I like about marmiton.org isn’t just the fact that among its thousands of recipes there are bound to be at least half a dozen using the ingredients you have to hand. It’s also the comments from visitors improving or adapting the recipe. The original recipe for this tart (which I chose because I had a surfeit of mozzarella to use up) would have turned out a soggy mess — it involved boiling the courgettes and then putting them in a raw pastry case! But by acting on several suggestions from other people I turned out a tasty tart that makes a pleasant change from our usual cheese, tomato and mustard tart.

It’s important to do all the vegetable preparation in order to eliminate as much water as possible, otherwise you will end up with a watery filling and soggy pastry.

shortcrust pastry
1 mozzarella cheese (or the same amount of soft goat’s cheese)
2 medium courgettes
3 large ripe tomatoes
200 ml cream
2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1 tbsp pesto
1 tbsp semolina or couscous
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a tart tin with the pastry and bake blind, until golden. Slice the courgettes, put in a colander, sprinkle with plenty of salt, and leave with a weighted plate on top for half an hour. then rinse, drain, and dry thoroughly on a cloth.

Peel the tomatoes, halve them, and squeeze out the pips and juice. Then dice the flesh and leave in a sieve over a bowl to drain. Cut the mozzarella into dice.

Fry the courgettes briefly on both sides in olive oil and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

Spread the bottom of the tart case with a thin layer of pesto, then sprinkle over the semolina (it will absorb excess liquid and be undetectable in the cooked tart). Arrange the courgettes in concentric rings, then scatter over the diced tomato and cheese. Whisk together the eggs and cream, season with salt and pepper, and pour over the vegetables. Bake the tart for about 30 minutes and serve immediately (nb you can’t serve it cold or even lukewarm, because the cheese will solidify to an unpleasant rubbery consistency — this would not be a problem if you used goat’s cheese though).

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